In literature, authors use betrayal as a means for their characters to get what they want. Betrayal plays a significant role in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby.  The first betrayal that takes place is Tom’s betrayal of Daisy. Tom betrays his wife Daisy when he has an affair with a woman named Myrtle. The second betrayal is Gatsby betraying himself.

Jay Gatsby could have easily been a very successful man and could have done a lot of great things with his life. He instead wasted all his potential chasing after Daisy and trying to get her to notice him.

The last betrayal that takes place in Daisy’s betrayal of Gatsby. Daisy led Gatsby to believe that she loved him and not her husband Tom. Daisy then turned her back on Gatsby and ran back to her husband leaving Gatsby alone.

The first betrayal is Tom’s betrayal of Daisy. Tom betrays Daisy by ignoring the sanctity of their marriage and having an affair. He has an affair with a woman named Myrtle who is also married.

Not only is this very unethical but, it destroys everything Tom and Daisy built together. They have a child together and this affair could potentially tear their family apart. Tom’s disloyal and guilt-free ways allow him to have an affair without feeling any regret. This betrayal affected the outcome of the story in a big way.

Tom’s betrayal caused Daisy to see nothing wrong with her betraying Tom. Daisy, like her husband, has an affair but, she cheats on Tom with Gatsby. She slowly starts to lose faith in humanity and starts to see the world as a very bad place. She wishes for her daughter to not see the world for what it is.

Daisy hopes that her daughter will be naive and clueless and to see the world as a happy place instead of the reality where the world is cruel. She tells Nick this when she says, “I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”(22) Tom’s betrayal caused Daisy to think this way. Nothing good came of Tom’s betrayal. It caused Daisy to change her whole outlook on life and impacted her in a very negative way. When you cheat on someone you love nothing good can come and this is proved in Tom’s betrayal.

Another significant betrayal in the novel is Gatsby’s betrayal of himself. Growing up Jay Gatsby always tried his best to become a better man. Gatsby had many hopes and dreams and had planned out ways he could become a better person. After Gatsby died his father found a schedule from his childhood that listed the things he had to improve on to become a better man, such as, “be nicer to parents” (164).

Gatsby was capable of great things but wasted his potential chasing foolish dreams. His dream was to be with the girl he loves the most and that girl is Daisy. Every wrong choice Gatsby made was made with the intention of impressing Daisy. He was a bootlegger, and he would throw extravagant parties using the bootlegged booze hoping for Daisy to be impressed.

Gatsby wanted nothing more than to turn back time to when he and Daisy were in love. Nothing but, trouble came from Gatsby’s pursuit of Daisy. He wasted his life chasing Daisy and only cheated himself. Gatsby’s betrayal of himself led to his own death. Instead of doing great things and following his plan, he took the blame for one of Daisy’s big mistakes, which led to his doom.

Gatsby could have been a very successful man, his father said it best when he said,” He’s got something about improving his mind. He was always great for that.” (115) Instead of living the life, he should have, Gatsby betrayed himself and wasted all his potential.

The final betrayal presented is Daisy’s betrayal of Gatsby. Daisy always knew how Gatsby felt about her but, never took an interest in him. Her feelings for him began to change when she saw his immense wealth. Daisy is a very materialistic person and all of Gatsby’s fancy things drew Daisy to him.

Daisy led Gatsby to believe she loved him again and that they would be together forever. Although when Tom confronted Gatsby about the affair, the truth came out. Gatsby accused Daisy of never loving Tom but Daisy admitted that this was not true. Daisy told Gatsby of her love for Tom “I did love him once” (126)

Gatsby was shocked to hear this and he felt very betrayed. He was under the impression that Daisy loved him all along and never Tom.  After this incident, Daisy ignored Gatsby and no longer came to visit. She betrayed him by completely cutting him out of her life. Daisy also betrayed Gatsby by never admitting to Tom that she was the one that hit Myrtle with the car. The effect of this betrayal was that all the blame fell on Gatsby.

Myrtle’s husband, Mr. Wilson, demanded revenge and this caused him to kill Gatsby. Daisy’s betrayal of Gatsby led to his death. Daisy never cared enough to ever admit to what she did even after he had died. Daisy also neglected to come to Gatsby’s funeral, yet another betrayal. Daisy’s many betrayals of Gatsby ultimately led to his untimely demise.

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William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0


  1. Perhaps the worst betrayal of all is Gatsby’s betrayal of his father, who lived in a small town, by targeting small towns to sell worthless bonds. This was also betrayal of the values of his honest working class roots.

    Daisy didn’t betray Gatsby by choosing not to leave Tom and go with him. Her rejection of Gatsby pronounced judgment on his low character, which Tom exposed in that hot hotel room.

    Daisy’s judgment of Gatsby was further emphasized when she failed to attend, call or send flowers to his funeral.

    Gatsby’s judgement was further emphasized by the failure of his friends and acquaintances to attend his funeral or send flowers.

    Gatsby’s final judgment was his execution by George Wilson, a member of the working class Gatsby had betrayed by his criminality.

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